Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Art of Cutting Firewood

Yesterday evening I posted a treasury on Etsy with the title Knee Deep in a Simple Life, but living a simple life isn't always easy. We try to live as simply as we can here without giving up all our comforts. We have friends who live without electricity and indoor plumbing... that kind of lifestyle isn't for us, and our kind of lifestyle isn't for everyone. We must each choose our path and our lifestyle and make the best of it. And I hope that includes making as light a footprint on the earth as possible.

We made a conscious decision several years ago to move out of the city into a rural area, and we worked hard at making that happen by reducing expenses so that we could rebuild a small home that my father-in-law had built in the late 50s and so that we could be free of debt once we sold our home in the city. We now live in a small, 1200 square foot home designed by us to make the best use of the space and built with our own hands, and those of my father; we gave up our cell phone and satellite tv while of course continuing our satellite internet service; we travel into the "big city" as rarely as possible, always trying to combine a variety of errands into one trip; and for recreational activity, we enjoy our nearby state park, community events, and getting together to make music with our friends and neighbors. We've invested in land and acreage surrounding our home, and we try very, very hard to live within a small budget... which means, among other things, that we use a limited amount of electricity and lights. We live for the most part without air conditioning, acclimating ourselves to the heat of an NC summer except on the hottest and muggiest days when temps go above 100, and we heat with wood rather than spending money on natural gas or electric heating systems.

And that's where the "not so easy" comes in. Cutting firewood is not easy work. It's a definite form of exercise! But it's rewarding to know that you've spent your day working hard (my muscles are telling me that this morning!) and that you have something to show for it. This is how we spent our day yesterday...

On my dad's property, there were a couple trees down in the woods, so we started with those and got our first pile of wood for the season. We normally start in the summer, but somehow the summer got away from us this year.

Starting with the smaller tree, a maple, first cutting it in half...

Then tying a rope around the log and pulling it out with the tractor...

Moving on to a much larger oak which has been dead for two years and down for one...

Rolling the cut sections out of the woods into a pile where they could more easily be split...

The initial splits... by my dad, a miraculous 81 years old and still the hardest working man, and most stubborn too, I know...

John takes over and splits with a maul, no wedges for him...

One pile down... and that was enough for the day. There's still the other half of the oak tree in the woods which we'll get at a later date.

Truck loaded and ready to bring home the wood...

We'll need several more truck loads of wood, and the gas-fired woodsplitter, to get us through the winter, but this is a good start! I may go out today and split some of those quartered logs, but first, I'm going to do some painting!


  1. OK Rebecca! Love your pictures--I so have tractor envy!!! We also heat with wood and Gary is eyeing poor Duke to pull logs--we'll see! :)

  2. Oh wow!! That's a whole lot of hard work!!
    Very inspiring!!

    Now I'm craving wood fire too!

  3. I love the tractor photo with the beautiful woods in the background. You are making me want to come see your gorgeous state! Your dad sounds like a wonderful character. Hurrah for him....hard work pays off....keeps 'em young! Thanks for photos we don't often see in the city!

  4. Rebecca...I just listened to the audio of The Ramshackles! Great music to sit back in front of the fire, drowse and dream. You guys are really good!! Glad you like Trout...I love them...even their "silly songs"! If you want a turtle pond, go to http://abowman.com/google_modules/turtle/
    There are more gadgets or widgets or whatever they call them. I love the little hamster you can feed....he is adorable. May add him too!

  5. I got the site address wrong...it is
    I'm still looking for a lizard module!

  6. What thoughtful choices you've made. Wonderful. Beautiful area! Glad the wood will keep you all warm & cozy after all your hard work.